NewsNow E-Edition July 11 2024 – View Online

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Tourism sector funds to aid new Lincoln course

By Tristan Marks
Lincoln’s tourism industry has received a much-needed financial booster shot.

Niagara Economic Development has secured and awarded $2 million in direct funding from The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) to support Niagara’s tourism industry in its recovery from COVID-19.

Lincoln has secured $500,000 from this amount to support its tourism-based businesses.

Lincoln economic development officer Paul DiIanni said the Town worked with the Region’s COVID recovery team to get this financial support for 41 of its tourism-based businesses.

“Our town’s tourism industry was hit hard by COVID,” he said. “Knowing that FedDev had a recovery fund, the ERRT advocated to get that money.”

The funding provided 167 tourism-dependent businesses across Niagara with up to $20,000 in non-repayable contributions to support costs associated with adapting and eventually reopening, such as space renovations and retrofits, purchase of equipment and fixtures, personal protective equipment, and support for technology and digitization.

The funding supports costs to equip businesses to meet Public Health guidelines and protocols, including:

• Purchase of PPE and cleaning supplies for workers;
• Accommodation of social distancing (expansion of restaurant patio space, pick-up windows or curbside pick-ups for retailers, secondary entry/exit to allow physical distancing, and equipment to extend the outdoor dining season;
• Implementation of technology and digital tools to allow tourism operators to enable processes like virtual queues and timed entry ticketing.

Lincoln was able to ensure a full quarter of the grant given to the Niagara Region by working directly with its businesses to set up their requests.

“It’s really a reflection of how much our economy depends on tourism,” DiIanni said.

These 41 businesses represent a diverse range of industries. Recipients include wineries, restaurants, breweries, jewellers, farm stands and more.

“We were even able to give support to the Downtown Bench BIA with these funds,” said Lincoln tourism coordinator Britnie Bazylewski.

Bazylewski said that although many businesses were able to kickstart their recoveries and adaptation thanks to this investment, there is still “more work to come” to help Lincoln’s tourism sector.

“We’re getting there,” she said. “But we’re not there just yet.”

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